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All-Time Cross Country Drive Highlights

jimk

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As mentioned in another thread, for a person who never made a living as a motor vehicle driver, I've done quite a few cross country drives over the years, perhaps 25 involving 5000 or more miles? The majority were associated with ski trips, but many in the off-season too. It occurred to me it might be a fun summer diversion to start a discussion with AZ members who've also traveled North America by car and share what they thought were highlights.

I'm not sure where to begin for myself, but this June 2023 I drove from UT to VA via AZ, NM, KS, etc. I'll post a few photos from this most recent cross country trip.

My Subie driving into The Grand Wash in Capitol Reef NP, UT
grand wash 10 june 2023.jpg

Hwy 12 near Boulder, UT is incredible. 1000+ foot drops on both sides of the road as it curves atop a mountain spine that is only 30 yards wide in places.
hwy 12 10 june 2023.jpg

An empty scenic view at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon
scenic view north rim grand canyon.jpg

View of Glen Canyon Dam from a boat on Lake Powell. This is near Page, AZ.
glen canyon dam water view 12 june 2023.jpg

Church Rock, AZ. This is in the Monument Valley area.
church rock 12 june 2023.jpg

Christ in the Desert Benedictine Monastery, NM
christ in the desert monastery.jpg

Dodge City, KS. Thousands of real cattle nearby, believe me!
el capitan dodge city ks.jpg

Inside the top of the St. Louis Arch
inside st louis arch.jpg

Thoroughbred Horse Farms along I64 in KY
ky horse farms.jpg

Blackwater Falls State Park, WV
black water falls.jpg

That's all for now folks. Might post more photos from previous trips later.

For others, what are some of your highlights of driving around the USA/North America? Scenery, people, or places that blew your mind? Winter, summer, recent, long ago! You don't have to have photos of it. Heck, I might have photos of it:)
 
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jimk

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Random selection of other recent cross country travel photos, non-skiing from 2020-2023 time frame. @BenedictGomez might find some of these of interest as many are places located in the state of Utah.

Mesa Verde National Park, CO
cliff dwelling mesa verde (1).jpg

The Kolob Canyons section of Zion National Park, UT
kolob kathy 13 feb 2023 (2) - Copy.jpg

Canyon Overlook, Zion National Park, UT
j & k canyon overlook  zion national park 2022.jpg

Goblin Valley State Park, UT
goblin valley mushrooms 13 may 2020.jpg

Chinese Arch, Golden Spike National Monument, UT
golden spike chinese arch 2020.jpg

Inspiration Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
10 june 2020 upper inspiration  point.jpg

Colorado National Monument, CO
kathy colorado monument 28 may 2021.jpg

Hoover Dam, NV
hoover dam feb 2022.jpg

Sunset at Grand View Point, Canyonlands National Park, UT
virga natural colors canyonsland national park 2022.jpg
 

BenedictGomez

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I didnt know there was an ancient cave dwelling place in CO. Reminds me of Montezuma's Castle in AZ.

VcAKHT4XN8CqzNSgDacDJk-1200-80.jpg
 

BodeMiller1

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There's a lot of interesting things out there. This shot is from Concord, NH. Don't think this guy is the real thing...
 

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jimk

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Mesa Verde has some very interesting history to it
A crazy fact about Mesa Verde NP is that people lived there for about 700 years. But most of that time they lived in very primitive holes in the ground. Then around 1200-1300 AD they built the famous cliff dwellings. There are dozens of the cliff dwelling complexes inside the National Park. But the people who built and lived in them abandoned everything after only about 100 years. No one knows why they left, but it's suspected that an extended drought was probably the main culprit.

=========================================

One of the weirdest cross country drives I did was in July 2020 at the height of the pandemic. My wife and I took four days to make the journey from UT to the Wash DC area. Due to the threat of Covid-19 we interacted with no one. We dry camped three nights in primitive sites. We carried all our food and drinks with us in our vehicle. Our only retail purchases were at gas pumps every 500 miles. We used no indoor plumbing - for crying out loud. Tourists were few, but truckers were out in force keeping America going

This is a primitive tent campsite at Sutherland Res, NE. Shortly after this picture was taken a three hour rain and wind storm passed over the area, including 40 MPH wind gusts. We stayed dry in our $35 Walmart Tent. Somebody in Bangladesh has cheap tent making down to a science.
ut va trip tent sutherland res ne.jpg

This is a giant wind turbine blade being hauled on I80 in Iowa. It is longer than two normal 18 wheel trucks.
ut va trip wind turbine blade.jpg

Dry camping in Lake Macbride State Park near Iowa City, IA. Our second night of camping. I got soaked taking the tent down in a downpour the next morning. We had a high quality air mattress that just barely fit inside the tent and it made for reasonably comfortable sleeping.
ut va trip lake macbride sp ia.jpg


We did another weird, but wonderful drive in April 2022. We drove from UT to Mammoth Mtn, CA for four days of skiing. The drive from SLC to Mammoth is approximately 550 miles (8.5-9 hours) through high desert and a series of dusty valleys and isolated mountain ridges. What was remarkable about this drive is that it was one of the most remote and low traffic I've ever taken in the USA. 400 miles of the trip is on two-lane roads.

Bonneville Salt Flats, UT.
bonneville salt flats 14 apr.jpg

One of the loneliest rest stops I've ever visited, somewhere in the vicinity of Ely, NV. Our highway US 6 is to the right. The presence of trees is not to be taken for granted in central Nevada.
lonely rest stop 14 apr.jpg

The Clown Motel in Tonopah, NV, an otherwise rather depressing old mining town.
clowns 19 apr.jpg

A view from near the summit of Mammoth Mtn looking towards Nevada and Utah. Salt Lake City is 550 miles straight out!
climax bowl mammoth 15 apr.jpg
 

BodeMiller1

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They left because the climate changed or more likely they were out gunned. Nice shot of the turbine blade.
 

ThatGuy

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Great pics Jim! You have excellent composition in your photos, when I’m feeling ambitious I’ll update with some of my favorites from my road trips. Most likely will be driving from NY to Utah at the end of October for the winter so will have some pics from that as well.
 

WWF-VT

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We drove Highway 12 from Bryce Canyon NP to Capitol Reef NP and it definitely ranks high on the list of the most scenic roads to travel
 

crank

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My ex lost a photo album I had full of pics mostly from cross country drives and a few film projects I worked on in the southwest.

Great pics as always Jim!

I was at Mesa Verde back in 1980 and took a roll of film with my boss's Nikon F2 and man I swear those were some of the best shots I ever took!

Anyway, We were there at Mesa Verde last September and we signed up a few weeks in advance for some cliff dwellings hike that you have to be guided on. It was really great. There were about 10 people and the hike was a few miles and fairly rugged with a bit of scrambling. The trail was totally unmarked because they don't want a ton of traffic there. And having a guide to tell us what we were seeing elevated a great hike into a great hike where any question you might have was answered, usually before you even thought to ask it.

That trip we flew into Denver rented a small car and then drove almost 1,500 miles over a week. First stop was Denver for a dispensary and that evening, Red Rocks for a Brandi Carlile concert. Lol: Lots of Lesbians. Then spent the night in Colorado Springs. Drove up Pikes Peak the next day. Drove to Pagosa Springs where we hiked and soaked in the hot springs. Drove to Durango for a couple days of mountain biking and hiking in Mesa Verde. Drove the "Million Dollar Highway" from there through Silverton and Ouray to Telluride. Met friends with a timeshare there and went to Blues and Brews Festival plus more hiking in the mornings. Drove to Frisco and spent the night there. Back to DEN early for flight home.

Such a fun, beautiful and exhausting trip. I need to dig out and post some pics.
 
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